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Home Living: Fun and Easy Ways to Decorate A Room - A Creative Project for the Whole Family

Updated on April 12, 2013

Are you looking to liven up your furniture arrangement or add a little colour to the walls of your bedroom or living room?

Do you want to get creative?

Have you just moved into a new house and can't wait to add a few touches of your own personality to make it feel more like you; to make it feel like home?

Decorating your home, or interior decorating is something a lot of people shy away from. They think that it's going to be too expensive, and that they will need to hire an a professional Interior Decorator to do the job.

Decorating your home can be an extremely rewarding, fun and challenging experience. You can get your partner or the whole family involved. Depending on what your budget will allow for, you can focus on one room at a time, or decorate the entire house by simply adding a few dashes of colour and making a couple of small changes.

I love decorating and mixing things up at home. For me, it's almost as good as going on holiday - almost!


Plan, Budget and Compromise

Once you've decided to take the plunge and start decorating, get ready to spice up your interior walls, floors and whatever else you feel like switching up inside your house!

It's only natural to feel some form of excitement and adrenaline rushing through your veins when you decide to start decorating. You probably can't wait to head on to your favourite home d├ęcor store and fill up your trolley with matching throws and scatter cushions, right?

I hear you - I've been there. Sometimes, I would get ideas from magazines or from watching a home improvement show on TV and I'd get lost in a bit of a fantasy. I'd forget all reason - logic would go straight out the door. I became a bit obsessed and that's when things weren't quite so fun or exciting. But, I've learnt my lesson, I had to bump my head hard a few times and I don't make that mistake anymore!

Don't do what I've done - don't decorate on a whim! Decorating on a whim is not smart and it's definitely not entertaining. It's expensive, it's permanent and if you're living with other people - it's incredibly selfish.

When the decorating bug hits you and you can't wait to get cracking on revamping your house, remember "P&B". No, not Peanuts or Butter...but Planning and Budgeting. When you start to create your ideal interior dream from these two little words, decorating the interior of your house will come as easy as 1,2,3!


P&B - Planning and Budget

Budget and planning go hand in hand. You can't use one without the other. Before collecting any paint swatches or making any purchases - no matter how small they might be, you should be asking yourself (and your partner or family in some instances) the following questions:

  1. What room(s) need some attention?
  2. What room(s) do I or my family spend the most amount of time in?
  3. How long do I see this project going on for - do I want it done immediately, or can it be carried over a few months, or even a couple of years?
  4. How much money can we put aside for decorating right now?
  5. How much money can we put aside each month?
  6. When will we decorate - after work, over weekends or during the holidays?
  7. Do we have the necessary tools or equipment like paintbrushes, hammers and nails, or will these have to be purchased too?

Have you ever decorated a room in your house?

See results

Useful Solutions to Common Problems

  • Mirrors, light colours, simple furniture and plain flooring will make a small room appear bigger.
  • To make a large room look smaller use dark, warm colours on the walls and/or ceiling, and use large furniture pieces.
  • Paint an unattractive feature in the same colour as walls or furniture around it as a disguise.
  • To make a long corridor appear more inviting, add lots of paintings, mirrors, tables and shelves along both sides. Install a focal point such as a dark colour on the wall at the end of the tunnel to make it appear shorter.
  • Use vertical striped wallpaper, full-length curtains, light colours on the floor and dark colours on the wall to make a low ceiling appear higher.
  • If your ceiling is too high, use horizontal striped wallpaper, include a dado rail, and use dark colours in the upper areas of the room.

Exploring the Room and its Activities

Now that you've decided what room(s) you want to start decorating, it's time to break it down a little more.

Start by drawing up a rough sketch of the first room you want to begin working on. It doesn't have to be to scale, although I would recommend trying to do this a bit later on when you start thinking about furniture arrangements.

Make sure to put in any permanent fixtures such as doorways, windows and fireplaces.

Now, make a list of all the activities that take place inside the room, as well as activities that you would like the room to be able to hold.

Decide what furniture is required for the activities, what amount of space each function is going to require (such as a reading area, games area, sleeping area, etc.), what storage requirements will be needed (bookshelves, cupboards, desks, etc.), and what the traffic flow will be like in that area.

Don't forget to ask the following questions while planning:

  • Who will be using the room?
  • Are pets going to be allowed in this room?
  • Is it an informal or a formal room?

Once you've got your basic outline of the room sketched, and you've made a list of everything that the room will be functioning as, you can get the ball rolling with those creative ideas and let your imagination run wild!

Did You Know?

Value is the amount of lightness and darkness in a colour.


Helpful Tip

If you paint a wall darker or lighter than what you wanted, use a sponge and mix the colour with a little white (to go lighter) or black (to go darker), and sponge onto the wall.

Black and white neutral colours work well together
Black and white neutral colours work well together | Source
Various shades of blue
Various shades of blue | Source
Red works well with black, white and grey
Red works well with black, white and grey | Source

What colour scheme do you like best?

See results

Choosing Colour

When you decide on a colour or various colours to paint or decorate the room with, you'll need to find out two things from the rest of your family members, or people who you share the house with first, namely:

  1. What colours do each of them like?
  2. What colours do each of them dislike?

Next, decide if you will be using any light or dark colours to make the room look bigger, the ceiling higher, or any other types of interior problems you would like to have fixed.

Steps for Selecting Colour for a Room:

  • Determine which direction the room is facing. Depending on your part of the world, you'll need to find out if it is a North or South facing room. One requires the use of cool colours, the other needs colours to warm up the room.
  • Is there a period or mood of the room?
  • Is the room used mostly during the day or at night?
  • What are the colours of existing pieces of furniture and possessions you wish to keep in the room?

Next, decide what type of a colour scheme you'd like the room to have.

Types of Colour Schemes:

  • Neutral Scheme

    White, cream, beige, grey, brown and black.

  • Monochromatic Scheme

    Based on using one dominant colour that have variations in shades and tones and rely heavily on different types of textures.

  • Complimentary Scheme

    These are colours that appear opposite each other on the colour wheel and that compliment each other.

Colours have the ability to create a number of moods within a room. Using too many dark colours can create a feeling of depression and anxiety; using various shades of white and cream will create a feeling of peace and calm, etc.

What mood do you want your room to portray?

Colours and Their Moods:

  • Yellow: Cheerful, sunshine, positiveness. Warm and happy.
  • Orange: Bright, warm and vibrant. Best used in small doses.
  • Blue: Coolness, space and serenity. Quiet and subtle used together with white.
  • Red: Strong, dashing and warm. Use sparingly with white, black and grey.
  • Green: Natural, relaxing and calm. It creates a restful mood. Use with yellow or white.
  • Black and White: Neutral. White is pure and highlights features, while black is sophisticated and elegant.


What room would you decorate first if you had the choice?

See results

Furniture Selection and Arrangment

If your room doesn't already have a natural focal point, you should develop one. This could be an artistic painting or mural on the wall, a fireplace, an ornate window treatment or a well decorated shelving or wall unit.

Choose furniture based on the size and purpose of the room. If you are buying new furniture, take pictures of the furniture that you are keeping so that you will be able to choose items that will work well together for the room.

Now's the time to make sure that your drawing plan is to scale. You can use your rough drawing to create a drawing to scale. You will need to measure the floor, walls, windows, doorways and any permanent fixtures in the room.

Furniture Arrangement Tips:

  1. Remember that contrasting coloured furniture stands out more. Keep them to a similar colour if you want the pieces to blend together.
  2. Allow a space of between 35cm to 50cm between a coffee table and the couch or sofa.
  3. Allow 45cm between a bed and a wall to the side.
  4. Keep a space of 90cm in front of wardrobes.
  5. Traffic space is important to avoid the feeling of congegstion in a room. Keep 45cm walkways for smaller traffic areas, and between 1.2m and 1.5m walkways for larger traffic areas.
  6. Allow 90cm between the wall and a dining table with chairs, and 40cm - 50cm between each dining chair.
  7. Poufs, ottomans and stools make useful seating arrangments and take up little space.
  8. Buy pieces of furniture that can be doubled as storage units.
  9. Stereo equipment should be placed opposite a soft covered wall (curtains, etc.)
  10. Remember that upholstery fades in strong sunlight and wood can be easily damaged in humidity.

Types of Light Fittings

  • Ceiling Lights are pendants, chandeliers, flourescent strips, down lighters, spotlighters and recessed spotlights.
  • Wall Lights are brackets, up lighters, picture lights, strip lights or angle arms.
  • Floor or Table Lights are table lamps, desk lamps, up lighters or angle-poises.



  • Can be used as room dividers
  • Can be fillers or be made to stand out
  • Can make contrasts in height and colour together
  • Can be put in pots, vases, or floating water

Lighting and Accessories

Lighting and accessories are what bring a room together; they're what complete the picture.


Firstly, before planning any lighting treatments or buying any new lighting fixtures, it's important to read the following guidelines:

  1. Based on the activities of the room, what lighting is appropriate?
  2. What is the overall light level required? How many light fittings are required and at what wattage?
  3. Remember to keep a balance of lighting throughout the room.
  4. Are there any features you wish to highlight?
  5. What is the decorative style of the room? Will the fittings clash or compliment this style?
  6. Is the ambiance of the room seductive, dramatic or reflective? Is it a place of work, rest or pleasure?
  7. Is the room going to change in the future to incorporate any other activities?
  8. There should be a variety of light fittings in the room.

Types of Light:

NB: Always have a mixture of general, task and decorative lighting.

  • Warm Light: Objects appear closer, it's cosy and flattering.
  • Cool Light: Objects appear further, a sense of space and dignity is created. It's unflattering.

NB: Colour changes according to the kind of light shining on it.


  • 45 watt: Used for bedrooms, dining rooms and hall fixtures
  • 60 watt: Ceiling fixtures in small rooms, such as bathrooms
  • 75 watt: Outdoor lampposts or patio lights
  • 100 watt: Dressing table or study lamps
  • 150 watt: Intense task light for reading or storage areas
  • 200 watt: Utility areas. Extremely bright


There are hundreds of items that can be used as a way to accessorize and highlight features in a room. These are known as accessories.

Examples of Accessories:

  • Plants
  • Light fittings
  • Decorative screens
  • Paintings or posters
  • Mirrors or clocks
  • Books
  • Sculptures or antiques
  • Flowers
  • Pottery or decorative bowls

Before buying plants, make sure that you have information on the following:

Space and colour of the room, humidity and temperature conditions, sources of light, room to place or hang the plants, if there are air-conditioners in the room, if heavy smokers will be using the same room, and if there are any nearby sources of heat.

Whatever your budget, whatever your theme, style or preference, decorating is an expression of your personality.

It's a way of making your house into a home.

Involving your partner or the entire family to paint and help plan layouts, buy furniture or create works of art that you can place around the room, is a wonderful project that you can do together to create everlasting memories. It's also an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time together having fun.

The Author

Melanie Chisnall is a freelance writer from Cape Town, South Africa.

She completed an Interior Decorating diploma just after high school, and enjoys decorating, creating new things and painting whenever she gets the chance.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I painted something onto one of my walls with red,yellow and violet. The 3 remaining walls I painted plain with each of those colors. It needed a lot of overcoming for me to change somethng in my flat. I can only say Its Worth It! Additionally I am playing a video like this on my big TV screen . The color fits and its very moody too what makes it fit the painting. Your Hub inspired me to change something about my boring home and I am very thankful for it.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you Kikalina! So glad to hear that!! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks vocalcoach! Have a fab day further :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      It's a pleasure Rebecca! Thanks for dropping by to read :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      5 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi midnightbliss! Me too, don't worry!! I have to make sure I have a detailed list when I decide to decorate - which isn't as often as I'd like, and most of the time I see something on special and add it in! I'm very bad that way. Thanks for stopping by :)

    • kikalina profile image


      5 years ago from Europe

      Loved reading this hub. Decorating doesn't come naturally to me and I find myself having to copy to make things work. This hub was of great help.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      5 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I missed this the first time around. Glad it's circulating again. Well done and so helpful!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      It's no doubt that interior decorating is a creative endeavor and an art form, you have proved it so well. Thanks!

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      5 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      Fun hub! I agree, "planning & budgeting" are extremely important! For me this mindset is often set aside when shopping begins because endorphins take over as a result of the excitement I get from creating a new living space to enjoy. Thus, I have to be careful throughout the process to ensure I achieve my goals. ; )

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      Thought I'd come by and say hi. This hub caught my attention because I saw the "decoration" stuff. I had a feeling I'd see some of your fabulous creations here. Hehe.

      Great ideas and tips. Husby and I have been talking about re-doing our kitchen ourselves and the ideas here are helping!

      Have a wonderful day, friend! xo

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi HoneyBB, I'm so glad my hub could help with your home decorating ideas! I was touched to read your last sentence, and what you are doing as a tribute for those children.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      H Lax 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for writing this very useful hub. I will definitely use much of what you suggested here in my upcoming project. I now have a much better idea of the furnishings and colours I want to use in the room. This is the 20th hub I read today of 26 I will read today honoring the victims of Sandy Hook. I read this hub in memory of Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi ishwaryaa22! Wow to you! Jewellery, graphics AND interior design.....that's incredible!! You're so ambitious and creative clearly :) Isn't it great to follow your creative passion? Well done! :)

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 

      6 years ago from Chennai, India

      Wow! What an extremely comprehensive, informative and detailed hub from a professional interior decorator - you! I learnt so much from you! I have completed my certificate course in jewelry-design (my passion) recently and now applied for a brief educational stint in graphics-design. After that, I planned to study interior-design(I always wanted to learn this since childhood). Keep up the great work. Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up, pinned for future reference & shared

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi CrisSp! I'm so glad you enjoyed this hub! I think we can all use a bit of colour inside our houses, even if the weather is gloomy outside, or even if the moods of some people are gloomy - colour has an incredible affect on people. Thanks for your comment :)

    • CrisSp profile image


      6 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      I needed to see some color these days and the law of attraction took me here. It's been gloomy in my part of the world and it's pulling my energy down south. Glad to have come across this colorful hub, where the energy is contagious.

      Thank you Mel for sharing your creativity with us. I enjoyed this all throughout. Cheers!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Carol! What I would give to be able to paint inside, but we're renting so at the moment it's just a dream. Enjoy the painting and redecorating! :)

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      You have lots of good information here for redecorating. I am contemplating painting the entire inside.. I just need a dose of ambition. Thanks for sharing really good ideas here. Voting up as it is very useful and interesting.

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      6 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi healthylife2 - Thank you! That's so exciting - decorating rooms and changing things around the house. I'm so glad you've found this hub useful. Have fun decorating! :)

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 

      6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Such great tips. We have been in our house for a while and I have rooms that need to be decorated or redecorated. Many rooms have such poor lighting and were things I just threw together when we first moved in and the kids were really little. Voted up!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Injured lamb - it's a pleasure, I'm glad you found the tips useful! Thanks for the compliment on them being professional suggestions, I appreciate it! )

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you learner365! Yes, lighting for any room can make such a difference, especially if paired correctly with the use of colour. Thanks for your comment.

    • Injured lamb profile image

      Injured lamb 

      7 years ago

      I got the idea now after reading this Melanie, thanks for the professional suggestions...really useful and you deserve an "up", cheers!

    • learner365 profile image

      Saadia A 

      7 years ago

      Very nice suggestions and extremely useful tips that take care of all the basics for decorating a room. I really liked lighting guidelines as it plays a major role in enhancing a certain area or corner of a room.

      Thank you for sharing. Voted up and useful !!!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Shruti - You are so right, the way our house is decorated definitely does influence our mood! And especially the type of colours that we choose.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :)

    • shruti sheshadri profile image

      shruti sheshadri 

      7 years ago from Bangalore, India

      wow! really interesting tips! A brilliant way to make our surrounding creative, it surely influences our mood doesn't it?

      beautiful.. voted up :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Nell! I'm also a huge fan of redecorating the front living room a few times each year. My favourite thing to do is to buy inexpensive scatter cushion colours and I change these as the new season comes in. Thanks for stopping in to read and comment! :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      7 years ago from England

      To me the most important thing is color as you mentioned, I love redecorating my front room, as my color changes every year, and I am surrounded by house plants! this was lovely and so useful, voted up!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Julie, I've always wanted to go to Connecticut - so how about we deal? I'll decorate your house and in exchange you pay for my flights? LOL! One can dream...Glad you enjoyed the hub, thanks! :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you so much pstraubie48! :) Thomas décor, sounds interesting - I'll have to go and check this out!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thanks Keith! One of the best things I learnt is to buy pieces of furniture that have more than one function, like an ottoman that has a lift up lid for storage, etc. There are so many more ideas today for these type of solutions than what there were 10 years ago. Thanks for your comment. :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi remaniki - Decorating is such a creative form of self expression and a beautiful topic, there's just so much that you can do that you wouldn't normally think of. Thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing! Much appreciated. :)

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Hi Janine - Thank you so much for the pin, I'm glad you found the article useful! Decorating a new house has got to be one of the best projects in the whole world. Thanks for your comment! :)

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 

      7 years ago from Clinton CT

      Well can you come decorate my house? Cause you have great ideas and this is something I totally suck at!!!!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      7 years ago from sunny Florida

      this is an xcellent hub. My daughter is always redecorating so i am sharing this with her. I wrote a hub about decorating a room in Thomas décor and shared her murals. I will attach this to that hub if you do not mind...

      here is the link

      pstraubie48hubpagescomatoddlersbedroombecomessodor voted up and useful

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Although I'm not ready to move out of my parent's house yet, I'm definitely looking at many things to teach myself how to be more frugal and careful of what I buy :) Thanks for sharing this!

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 

      7 years ago from Chennai, India

      Excellent hub presented extremely well and easy to follow. Beautiful hub Mel. Thank you for a wealth of information. It's a beautiful topic that I enjoy reading about though I don't do it myself. Shared and tweeted and pinned too. Cheers, Rema.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 

      7 years ago from New York, New York

      I am so pinning this one Mel, because we are going to buy a house probably in the next year or two and your article was so informative with all your helpful suggestions. You laid everything out so beautifully and detailed too. I have also voted, shared and tweeted too!

    • MelChi profile imageAUTHOR

      Melanie Chisnall 

      7 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you Bill! I must say while writing this article it did make me realize just how much I used to enjoy decorating and getting creative around the house. I think it's about time I got back to some painting. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub....I know, it was a little long, wasn't it? Good grief - mini encyclopedia indeed! But, I hope I compiled it enough so that it's simple, easy to understand and most importantly - fun to read! Thanks for such a lovely comment and compliment! You made my day :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a beautifully crafted article Mel; you have done quite well with this one, kind of a mini-encyclopedia of information about home décor...and I love getting the whole family involved. Well done my young and talented friend.


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